6 Worldschooling Tips for the Whole Family

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
May 03, 2013 / 0 comments

You may have heard of the term worldschooling before – it’s a brilliant (and natural) concept, where you learn from the world around you. For travelers, this is an even better way to think about being in the world – for what is better than learning about where you are? When we travel, we learn about people, customs, architecture, archaeology, economics, religion, cuisine, transportation, housing, clothing, traditional skills, and more.

But I hear you saying that sometimes, when we travel as a family, we’re too frazzled to actually pay attention to these things! That can be true – but it’s also pretty easy to work worldschooling into your lives (it’s a central tenet of ours) – whether you’re at home or on the road. You have to shift your mindset into a curiosity about everything. When you teach your kids this (by example), you will be raising true global citizens, who care and are curious about the world.


Here are six worldschooling tips for your whole family:

1.    Invite the world in! When you’re at home, invite international students to come dine and be part of your family. When you’re on the road, make friends. Dine with your new friends, set up playdates for your kids (we use Tripping for that – both through the wandering educators group  and the family travel group). Be kind - and open to new experiences and friendships.

Mallaig, Scotland

Visiting Mallaig, Scotland with friends

2.    Eat globally. Whether it is at ethnic markets at home, or at markets abroad, try new foods! Yes, I once spent $10 on a box of Cheerios in Japan, because I was so homesick after being there a year. It was worth every penny – and then I went right back to that amazing, delicious Japanese food.

3.    Get immersed. Watch tv shows from other cultures, explore foreign films. The author of our Moving to Cambodia Guide, Gabi Yetter, often heads to The Flicks in Phnom Penh for movies from around the world. Listen to global news, read international newspapers.

4.    Read. There is a whole world of literature out there – and it’s portable! Reading an e-book on a Kindle device has never been easier and there’s a wealth of information out there – ranging from textbooks and newspapers to audio books. Discover new authors from around the world - and when you travel, make it a point to read local authors; you can gain valuable insight into different cultures.

5.    Learn. Read the history of a place, and more about why each culture is unique. Download apps of all kinds – maps, language, urbanspoon, cultural games – and explore. Visit museums, aquariums, zoos; learn sports, scuba dive, talk with experts wherever you go. Take classes – cooking classes, or ikebana classes, or martial arts – whatever is popular where you are going. You’ll gain lifelong skills and an appreciation for a culture.

6.    Play. Get outside, wherever you are. Take nature walks, play on the beach, float a boat in Luxembourg Gardens or Central Park, kayak, swim, look for seashells, go ziplining, hike in a jungle, wash elephants, volunteer at an animal shelter, dance, wander urban neighborhoods, listen to music. Play is central to every single culture in the world – throw yourself into it, with all your heart. You’ll love it, I know.


Washing Elephants

Washing Elephants in Laos


Be curious about the world – your lives will be so much richer!


World schooling from Dr. Jessie Voigts